First and Last
Assistant Professor Conly Speaks Again

In the Objective Room

Remember the Objective Room from C.S. Lewis's That Hideous Strength, an environment designed to undermine or destroy a person's natural responses to disorienting or repellent things? This story made me think of it: as part of a university (!) classroom exercise students were told to write the name of Jesus on a piece of paper and step on it.They weren't forced to do the actual stomping, but were expected to participate in a bit of brainwashing:

“Have the students write the name JESUS in big letters on a piece of paper,” the lesson reads. “Ask the students to stand up and put the paper on the floor in front of them with the name facing up. Ask the students to think about it for a moment. After a brief period of silence instruct them to step on the paper. Most will hesitate. Ask why they can’t step on the paper. Discuss the importance of symbols in culture.” (see this story)

The obvious result of this, and probably the conscious purpose, is to encourage students to remove themselves from active belief in such a thing as Christianity, or at least a strong residual respect for it, to that olympian plane of objectivity where they recognize that such beliefs are simply cultural symbols, all essentially alike.

The specifics of this case and its disposition are less important than what they reveal about the education establishment. The university trotted out the usual academic boilerplate: "open discourse...sensitive topics...dialogue and debate." But we all know this kind of desensitization is almost always directed at Christianity and other enemies of progressivism. As the old song says, there's something happening here; contrary to the song, though, what it is is exactly clear.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

At least the university has apologized.

You know what's really sad? The fellow who wrote the textbook that the stomp-on-Jesus lesson plan is in teaches at St. Norbert College, a Catholic institution.

Oh, and the book is now in its fifth edition and “is used in university and college classrooms across the United States and abroad and is regarded as a best seller among intercultural communication textbooks.”

The apology is better than defiance, but not all that comforting, since nothing would have happened if this student hadn't made a fuss, and the school's first impulse was to dig in. As your third paragraph makes clear, the basic attitude cultivated by the book is the norm.

The fact that the textbook author teaches at a Catholic school is not even surprising.


The fact that the textbook author teaches at a Catholic school is not even surprising.

I know. Isn't that terrible?

I'd like to see them try this with Mahommed.

And I can't imagine them doing it with Buddha either, can you?

A lot of people made exactly that point. The rules of the multicultural game are pretty clear. For one thing, in general white/Euro-American/Christian people are the only ones who are really encouraged to play, and the goal is to get them to devalue and relativize their culture and to be hyper-sensitive toward others.

More gifts from the Catholic academy. No need to read the whole thing, all you need is: "Many people, myself included, would love to see Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, the presumptive swing vote on the court, declare a constitutional right to marriage equality in language as majestic and authoritative as ..."

The author is a Georgetown law prof.

I'm not sure I can even work up the energy merely to roll my eyes any more.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)